Home News Local News Pecos Valley Artesian water conservancy district holds elections Saturday

Pecos Valley Artesian water conservancy district holds elections Saturday

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Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District has its administrative offices in Roswell but serves about 100,000 people in Chaves and Eddy counties. Its Saturday elections will involve districts that include parts of Roswell, Dexter and Hagerman. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Amidst all the other news about 2020 elections is one that might seem routine, but it affects about 100,000 residents in Chaves and Eddy counties and involves an annual budget of more than $6 million.

The Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District, which has its headquarters in Roswell, is holding elections Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for its District 2 and District 3 directors.

Two current members, Dick Smith and Mike Fallwell, are nominated to serve six-year terms that will begin this month, PVACD Superintendent Aron Balok wrote in an email.

Even though running unopposed, the nominees must be elected to take office, Balok said.

“Board members are responsible for overseeing all activities of the PVACD,” Balok wrote. “The district (by court order) is responsible for paying the expenses of the Office of the State Engineer’s Water Master, as well as owning and maintaining meters on all points of diversion that have a water right. By doing so, the board ensures that the Pecos Valley has enough water to meet the needs of its citizens today and in the future. Because of the selfless commitment of its board members, PVACD has been able to fulfill its mission to conserve the waters of the Pecos Valley for the past 88 years.”

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The five-member district board also votes on such matters as whether to sell or acquire the district’s water rights, whether to approve easements and access to district property, whether to loan money to assist people with projects designed to conserve or better use water, and decisions related to litigation and negotiations concerning the Pecos River Compact and other water use issues.

Smith is the District 2 nominee. He has served two terms for 11 years and is the current secretary and treasurer of the board. District 2 starts around Second Street and runs south to around Brasher Road.

“I am a surface water hydrologist and I work with the Chaves County Flood District (as superintendent),” Smith said, adding that he also farms. “I have an interest in water.”

Smith said the area has a “pretty stable” water supply thanks to the rechargeable aquifer, one of only 12 in the nation. He also credits the actions of landowners to create the conservancy district so that it would monitor the water table, conserve the waters and meter water usage.

Fallwell of Dexter, has been a member for seven years and is the candidate for District 3, which starts a bit south of Brasher Road and runs south to Morgan Street in Hagerman. Fallwell said that he is a corn and wheat farmer.

“I would like to see the water last from now on,” he said. “That is my goal.”

He added that the district serves an important role for the 100,000 residents who “drink a lot of water and use a lot of water.”

Property owners in the district — which stretches along a central portion of Chaves and Eddy counties from about 20 miles north Roswell to the Brantley Reservoir area near Carlsbad — are assessed taxes to fund the district. For fiscal year 2019-20, the budget is $6.35 million, Balok indicated.

People living in District 2 can vote at Roswell Fire Station No. 5, 119 W. Gayle St. The polling place for District 3 is the Dexter Fire Station, 200 E. Second St. in Dexter.

The election is being run by Automated Election Services this year, Balok said. In the future, the Chaves County Clerk’s Office will handle them.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.